by: Russ Amott [ ]
The Cushman motor company produced the Autoglide one cylinder scooter from 1937, and with the start of the Second World War, it was quickly adopted for military service. Small and easily to operate, it served in a variety of roles both on the front as well as behind the lines. A sidecar kit was made available that could be used as a seat for an additional passenger, or to carry small loads such as mail or spare parts.
PlusModel previously released the Cushman Autoglide scooter as a resin kit, a link to that review is at the end of this review. Here is a look at the next kit in their line-up, the Autoglide scooter with the sidecar kit.
The resin kit comes in a small blister pack, with a piece of foam to protect the various parts. Each part is attached to the resin pour block and there is considerable clean-up to do but it is not too difficult. Some of the parts are very delicate so care will be needed to prevent breakage. There is a piece of wire and a small etch fret with foot and brake levers included.
Kit instructions are provided as a simple fold out and are done in line drawings. The parts are numbered on the pour block, but with the low parts count are easily identifiable.
The front mud guard, part 5, is a little narrow and could benefit from some gentle expansion. There is a small part in the front fork assembly that serves as the headlight mount, so use care when cleaning this up not to remove it.
I mounted the engine to the frame, and then added the rear wheel. The front tire was added to the forks and the mud guard placed after. The wire provided for the front brakes is too thick, being 24 gauge. I had some 28 gauge wire that I used instead, appearing much more to scale. I used 28 gauge wire as well for the foot lever.
The sidecar frame attachment was a very tight fit and needed some filing to get into place. Once it is attached to the scooter, check the fit of the rear scooter body as it may not fit between the scooter and sidecar frames.
The instructions show a spare tire mounted to the rear of the scooter, but there is not a spare tire available in the kit. There is also what appears to be a 10 liter fuel can to attach to the front of the sidecar. This is present on the restored scooter the kit marking is based on but the casting on this part is not particularly good, so I opted to leave it off.
There was a slightly crooked appearance to the scooter frame once it was all assembled, which I noticed in the previous build as well. The scooter frame is just slightly bent to the right. For fear of making things much worse, I left it as is.
There are three marking options provided for in the decals, the first being in US Navy use, overall light gray, second a US Army scooter, overall Olive Drab, and third a civilian scooter in airfield service, overall bright yellow, with checkerboard cover on the sidecar and "Gulf" decals on the sides. I have read that towards the end of the war, many airfield vehicles were painted in bright yellow, including scooters, jeeps and tow tractors.
I opted for the US Navy version, and went with Badger Modelflex primer gray. Modelflex paints have a somewhat glossy finish. I then added the kit decals. The kit decals came off the backing paper very easily, and VERY quickly, only a five or six seconds in warm water. They are very thin and the printing was quite clear. A nice touch was the addition of a manufacturers placard included.
Once the kit was painted I added the brake handle and a brake line from lightweight 32 guage copper wire.
The marking choice I selected does limit display possibilities are there are few 1/35 naval subjects available, although it could fit in nicely on a dock alongside a PT boat or LST. Suitable figures would be needed as well.
For those wanting something more specific, PlusModel has announced a forthcoming 1/35 airborne scooter as well as a three wheeler, and the series is also running in 1/48 scale.
This is a kit that goes together fairly well, but does need care. Because of the clean-up and required use of CA glue it is for experienced modelers. Aside from the slight frame warping and lack of the spare tire (the mount was included in the parts) the kit is a pleasant build, and someone with more talent could really make this shine.